Dyche Details Set-Piece Strength And xG Advice

Sean Dyche has hailed his side’s variety in their approach, praising the Blues’ ability to “mix it up” in their 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Two set-piece goals over Ange Postecoglou’s top-four chasing Spurs mean that Everton have now scored 13 from dead-ball situations, and only Arsenal have more (14) in the Premier League this season.

Evidence of their defensive organisation is also apparent when considering Everton have conceded just 13 Premier League goals from open play this season, and no side has let in fewer.

But it’s not all set-pieces and deep defending for Dyche’s Everton.

The Toffees are among the division’s best pressers, and now lead the league for high turnovers, totalling 240.

Against Tottenham, they regained possession 18 times in the attacking third – the most any Premier League team has accumulated in a single game since Liverpool against Norwich City in February 2020.

Reviewing a brave but balanced display from his team, Dyche told evertontv after the game: “The players deserve a lot of credit. I think their belief in each other is growing, and I think the fans deserve credit. They’ve questioned us and I’ve said that there’s no problem with that when we’re not on it.

“But I think today, they saw a side – once again – fully committed to the cause, and they played their part as well.

“Today, we got our reward for keeping at it. We’ve given everything again for the cause, and I think it was on show and it pays you back. We’ve got quality as well, and there was what I call ‘mixed football’. I thought we mixed it really well today.

“Our set-plays were good; our efforts on goal were good; the quality of balls into the box and final third were good. These are all important stats over a season’s work, so I’m very pleased in many different ways today.”

During recent weeks, the Toffees have struggled to convert their chances, with the Blues ranking ninth in the league for expected goals, but 17th in the division for goals scored.

Dyche, while highlighting the good work of his coaching staff, insists an edge on set-plays and a welcoming of “scruffy goals” could help to combat Everton’s conversion troubles.

“I don’t do much of that,” said Dyche on his side’s set-piece work. “I leave [the coaching staff and analysis team] to analyse and to put on the set-pieces. I think they do a great job.

“Most of all, the players [deserve credit] because set-pieces, for me, have always been about the quality of the ball in and the mentality to score a goal. You can do all the set up, but you’ve got to have that clear mindedness and bloody mindedness to score a goal.

“I think that’s absolutely clear. We’ve got players going into the box, wholeheartedly believing they can score goals.

“We found different ways and that’s important in football. It’s not all about beautiful goals and I said that to the players. Everyone wants to score a trendy goal, or a fashionable goal, or a top-corner goal. That stats suggest you won’t, so therefore, let’s concentrate on the basics.

“When the beautiful [goal] comes along, fine. We’ll take it. What about all the scruffy and ugly goals? So, I was really pleased with that today.

“We spoke to the group in the week about how we can’t keep relying on that [xG] number. We can’t just keep looking at it. It’s us who have to make it change – as in, literally using it by making it happen. I’m pleased with that today.”